The Best Blackout Shades of 2023

Boost privacy, security, and slumber with these well-made, light-blocking window treatments.

By Andréana Lefton | Updated Oct 19, 2022 2:42 PM

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The Best Blackout Shades Option

Photo: amazon.com

Window shades can lend privacy, protect furnishings from ultraviolet (UV) light, and even help you get better sleep by softening sounds and keeping brightness at bay.

Because of inner layers of fabric insulation, blackout shades possess more light-blocking abilities than all other varieties of shades available. They differ from blackout curtains in that they fit snugly either into or outside the window frame, similar to classic roller shades or venetian blinds. Blackout shades can even help make a home more energy efficient by adding a layer of thermal insulation to the windows to regulate temperature in all seasons.

Various types of blackout shades are better suited to specific areas, decor styles, and operation preferences. If these light-blocking window treatments seem like they would be an appealing addition to your home, read on to learn what to look for when shopping and why these products are among the best blackout shades.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Sbartar Cordless Blackout Fabric Blinds
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: ChrisDowa 100% Blackout Roller Shade
  3. BEST ADHESIVE: Seeye Blackout Temporary Cordless Shades
  4. BEST ROLLER: Passenger Pigeon Valanced Window Shades
  5. BEST ROMAN: Arlo Blinds Thermal Room-Darkening Fabric Roman Shade
  6. BEST CELLULAR: Grandekor Cellular Shades Blackout Cordless
  7. BEST MOTORIZED: Yoolax Motorized Shade for Window with Remote Control
  8. BEST FOR NURSERY: Acholo Blackout Roller Shades
  9. BEST FOR BEDROOM: Allbright Thermal Insulated 100% Blackout Shades
The Best Blackout Shades Option

Photo: amazon.com

Types of Blackout Shades

While all shades can block light to some extent, only blackout shades can keep ambient light, as well as the sun’s strong rays, from seeping in. Depending on the room’s decor, window shape, and light allowances, choose one of the following styles for room-darkening effects.

Roller

Classic roller shades consist of a single piece of fabric “rolled” into a concealed headrail when raised. To block light, roller shades must be pulled down using a cord or chain. Cordless versions, considered safer for homes with kids and pets, are also available. Affordable and easy to install, roller shades can be mounted inside or outside the window frame, though outside-mount versions are more efficient at blocking light.

Roman

Elegant yet unfussy, Roman shades consist of soft fabric that can be raised or lowered by a system of rings and a cord, which is sewn into the back of the panel. When raised, these panels collapse into horizontal folds at the top of the window. When lowered, the fabric either lies flat against the window or hangs in soft loops or folds. Flat Roman shades look at home in traditional or contemporary settings, while soft-fold Roman shades offer a bit of airiness and romance to a room’s decor.

Cellular

An internal 3D structure that resembles a honeycomb makes cellular shades uniquely efficient at blocking out light. Each cell is coated in insulating blackout fabric, creating an absorptive chamber that light rays can’t escape. Operated by either a cord or a push tab at the bottom, cellular shades offer excellent light control, noise reduction, and insulation, which can potentially lower energy costs over time.

Constructed in narrow, crisp accordion folds, these shades can be fully drawn or raised to any height preference to let in light. Some versatile deluxe versions can also be raised and lowered from the top as well as the bottom, offering more lighting and privacy options.

Motorized

Motorized blackout shades are operated with the press of a remote-control button or by voice activation via smart-home compatibility. While more expensive than manual window treatments, they can be a real convenience in rooms with high ceilings or where windows are hard to reach. Motorized blackout shades may also be useful for office meeting spaces, game rooms, and home theaters where complete darkness is desired. They offer a sleek look suited for modern environments.

The Best Blackout Shades Option

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Blackout Shades

While blackout shades are functional, they can also be beautifully designed to coordinate with curtains and other decor. Consider their purpose and overall look, methods of control and installation, and ease of cleaning and upkeep.

Purpose and Style

Blackout shades can offer privacy, insulation, noise reduction, sun protection, and temperature control. Style wise, they can enhance the overall mood of rooms. While soft, neutral hues, such as white, beige, or gray, can provide significant light blocking, dark gray, navy, and black provide the best blackout effects. Roman shades can be used without extra curtains, but roller and honeycomb shades tend to look best when paired with curtains or valances.

Material and Color

Blackout shades are typically made of tightly woven polyester fabric, blocking sunshine and ambient light with an insulating black liner that usually isn’t visible. To present a seamless, attractive look from outside as well as inside the house, look for shades that are the same color on both sides, as opposed to those lined with blackout material on the back. While well-engineered shades are effective in lighter hues, including white and ivory, darker colors do tend to block light more effectively.

Sizing and Installation

Shade sizing has two options: precut or customized. Precut shades come in a range of standard sizes to fit an array of conventionally sized residential windows. To purchase, simply measure the window inside or outside the frame, depending on the chosen mount type. Then select the correct dimensions from the options provided or choose the “custom sizing” option and follow brand instructions.

When measuring for shades, consider where and how they will be installed. Determine if they will be placed inside or outside the window frame and whether they will be secured to the frame with adhesive strips or via hardware.

  • Adhesive shades, which tend to be the least expensive option, are best for quick, DIY solutions as well as travel and cabin/RV living. Simply measure and cut the shades to the window dimensions, tear off the adhesive strip, and stick to the window frame, according to brand instructions.
  • Inside-mount shades, which require precise measurements, are installed inside the window frame with mounting brackets. These shades offer a clean, sleek look and take up less space than outside-mount shades. They also offer more options for layering curtains and other window treatments.
  • Outside-mount shades, which are installed outside the window frame via mounting brackets, block light most effectively. Window treatment experts often recommend these for rooms where maximum darkening is desired, such as bedrooms. They require less accurate measurements than inside-mount shades and can also make windows appear bigger.

Controls and Upkeep

Manual shades are operated by a cord, a chain, or a push tab. Roller, honeycomb, and Roman shades come in both corded and cordless varieties. Motorized shades have no cords or tabs and work via integrated electronics. Because of the risk of a cord tripping or tangling around a body part, cordless shades are considered safer for homes with kids and pets.

Motorized shades have several control options. For a more integrated look and feel, these shades can be paired with a wall switch or an app on a smart device. Pairing motorized shades with a smart-home device has many benefits, including programmable timer options. For example, shades can be set to lower at a specific time if a window gets a lot of sun in the morning or afternoon.

In terms of upkeep, always follow manufacturer care instructions. In general, most blackout shades can be cleaned with a microfiber dust cloth or brush-headed vacuum attachment. Roller blinds are the easiest to clean because they are flat and smooth. Honeycomb and soft-fold Roman shades have more texture, so they will need to be dusted with care. For motorized blinds, dusting should be sufficient.

Our Top Picks

All of the following products were selected for their ability to block light as well as their superior design, ease of use and installation, and affordability.

Best Overall

The Best Blackout Shades Option: Sbartar Cordless Blackout Fabric Blinds
Photo: amazon.com

These Sbartar blackout shades are precisely engineered to block all incoming light and UV rays thanks to the blackout liner within the cellular fabric. They also provide noise reduction and can help save energy because of an inner honeycomb structure that stays cool in summer and warm in winter. A bottom tab lifts and lowers the cordless cellular shades to the preferred height.

For style versatility, the shades are reversible, with 12 color combinations from which to choose. Select “room darkening” versus “light filtering” versions for maximum darkness. For complete privacy, light blocking, and elegance, Sbartar shades are a solid option.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless cellular
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: 22 to 58 inches
  • Height: 38 to 64 inches

Pros

  • Simple installation
  • Multiple colors and sizes available
  • Child-friendly cordless design

Cons

  • Can be difficult to clean properly

Get the Sbartar blackout shades on Amazon.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Blackout Shades Option: ChrisDowa 100% Blackout Roller Shade
Photo: amazon.com

When decorating a room on a strict budget, splurging on needlessly pricey blackout shades may be a stretch for some shoppers. That’s where this blackout roller shade from ChrisDowa comes in. The thermal-insulated shade provides excellent room darkening. Its ability to block light can help sleepers catch a few extra moments of rest on bright mornings.

With both inside and outside mounting options, installation is a breeze. The metal chain can also be clipped into place at the bottom to prevent safety hazards to pets and children. This window blind is available in six modern colors to suit a wide variety of decors and styles. It can also be ordered in multiple sizes to suit most window dimensions.

Product Specs

  • Type: Corded roller
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: 20 to 70 inches
  • Height: 72 inches

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Available in 6 modern colors
  • Very easy to install
  • Suitable for most window widths

Cons

  • Only 1 height option
  • Light can bleed through with inside mount

Get the ChrisDowa blackout shades on Amazon.

Best Adhesive

The Best Blackout Shades Option: Seeye Blackout Temporary Cordless Shades
Photo: amazon.com

To block light quickly and conveniently, consider Seeye’s temporary cordless adhesive shades. Made of high-quality, nonwoven fabric rather than paper, these breathable blackout shades are suitable for homes with kids and pets. They install easily, and no hardware is required. Simply measure, cut, tear, and press the peel-and-stick adhesive backing to the window frame. They remove just as easily without damaging the frame.

Seeye shades block sunshine and ambient light, and they are controlled by taps at the bottom. Although they come in four colors and styles, choose “blackout” for the best light-filtering effects.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless cellular
  • Installation: Adhesive
  • Width: 36 or 48 inches
  • Height: 72 inches

Pros

  • Great for renters
  • Simplest installation
  • Budget-friendly solution

Cons

  • Only 1 color available
  • Limited width options

Get the Seeye blackout shades on Amazon.

Best Roller

The Best Blackout Shades Option: Passenger Pigeon Valanced Window Shades
Photo: amazon.com

Passenger Pigeon’s classic roller shades block up to 100 percent of sunlight and UV rays from entering the home. They also provide insulation against heat and cold, reduce noise, and boost privacy. These roller shades, available in several colors and both corded and cordless varieties, let buyers customize dimensions or select precut shades from dozens of length and width options.

Constructed from heavy-duty polyester, these shades are easy to clean with a damp cloth or dustcloth. The fabric itself is thermally insulated and waterproof, making these shades a good choice for French doors as well as windows that receive a lot of sunlight.

Product Specs

  • Type: Roller (cordless or corded)
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: 15 to 97 inches
  • Height: 25 to 110 inches

Pros

  • Luxurious-looking fabric
  • Highly customizable
  • Wide selection of stylish colors

Cons

  • Pricier than other options

Get the Passenger Pigeon blackout shades on Amazon.

Best Roman

The Best Blackout Shades Option: Arlo Blinds Thermal Room Darkening Fabric Roman Shades
Photo: amazon.com

Chic, safe, and effective, the Arlo Blinds thermal Roman shades are made of thick polyester fabric to block a majority of light, lend privacy, and boost energy efficiency by keeping rooms cool in summer and warm in winter. The shades are available in dozens of precut dimensions to fit a host of residential windows, and they operate easily with a cordless lift mechanism.

Choose from three neutral colors (graphite, light gray, and white), which work with a range of interior styles. Cleaning is a breeze with a dusting cloth or soft-brush vacuum attachment. A steamer on low heat can remove any wrinkles. Although a good choice for a variety of living and office spaces, these shades do not block all light so are not ideal for bedrooms that require complete darkness.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless Roman
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: 22 to 69.5 inches
  • Height: 48 to 72 inches

Pros

  • Suits most decor styles
  • Great for temperature regulation
  • Simple cordless design

Cons

  • Fabric can arrive wrinkled and require pressing

Get the Arlo Blinds blackout shades at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Overstock.

Best Cellular

The Best Blackout Shades Option: Grandekor Cellular Shades Blackout Cordless
Photo: amazon.com

Stylish and intended to create 100 percent darkness, Grandekor’s cellular shades are designed to elevate the look and improve the function of any home. These polyester fabric shades are lined with aluminum foil for complete light and heat-blocking abilities, and the cordless design is easily operated by a clear tab at the bottom of each panel.

They come in five colors and dozens of sizes, and they can be installed inside or outside the window frame. All necessary hardware and instructions are included.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless cellular
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: 22 to 47 inches
  • Height: 38 to 64 inches

Pros

  • Smooth, cordless design
  • Blocks UV rays
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • Quite pricey

Get the Grandekor blackout shades on Amazon.

Best Motorized

The Best Blackout Shades Option: Yoolax Motorized Shade for Window with Remote Control
Photo: amazon.com

If motorized blackout shades make sense for your home, these Yoolax models are worth exploring. Choose from either a remote-control-operated version or hands-free light control via Alexa or Google Home assistant. The rechargeable, battery-powered motor will run for between 4 to 6 months of daily use per charge.

Constructed of sleek PVC, both sides of these shades are the same color for a seamless look inside and out. They’re easy to clean with a quick wipe of a damp cloth. Yoolax shades are made to measure, so click “Customize Now” to receive emailed measurement and installation instructions within 24 hours.

Product Specs

  • Type: Motorized roller
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: 22 to 97 inches
  • Height: 20 to 118 inches

Pros

  • Great for tech fans
  • Easy to use once installed
  • Wide range of sizes to choose from

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Installation is slightly more involved

Get the Yoolax blackout shades on Amazon.

Best for Nursery

The Best Blackout Shades Option: Acholo Blackout Roller Shades
Photo: amazon.com

If darkness on demand is important at bedtime or nap time, these Acholo blackout shades may just do the trick. What’s more, they’re cordless and easily operated by a pull bar at the bottom, so no worries about choking and tripping hazards. The polyester fabric shades are highly durable and easy to clean with a microfiber cloth or light vacuuming, which are great attributes for kid-friendly quarters.

Each shade is double-sided in the same color; choose from white, gray, dark chocolate, and black. While the shades can be mounted inside or outside the window frame, Acholo reminds customers that the sides are 1.5 inches narrower than the top brackets, so a little light will enter with inside-mount installation.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless roller
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: 23 to 48 inches
  • Height: 72 inches

Pros

  • Great thermal insulation
  • Simple spring operation
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Limited color options

Get the Acholo blackout shades on Amazon.

Best for Bedroom

The Best Blackout Shades Option: Allbright Thermal Insulated 100% Blackout Shades
Photo: amazon.com

A dark room can often lead to a better night’s sleep, and these Allbright shades are designed to provide 100 percent darkness. The polyester shades are lined with thermal silver fabric made of certified nontoxic materials, so shoppers can breathe as easily as they sleep. This lining blocks all ambient light and helps maintain the ideal temperature inside the home.

Operated by a pull chain, these well-tailored shades are designed to fit inside the window frame. And if dark hues won’t suit the bedroom decor, choose one of the soft neutral shades of beige, gray, or light gray without compromising room-darkening ability.

Product Specs

  • Type: Corded roller
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: 20 to 58 inches
  • Height: 72 inches

Pros

  • Luxurious material
  • Installs easily
  • Simple to clean

Cons

  • Limited color options
  • Pricey

Get the Allbright blackout shades on Amazon.

Our Verdict

The Sbartar blackout shades are cellular shades in multiple colors and sizes to suit a wide range of decor choices. For those looking for a more budget-friendly option that still provides energy efficiency, consider the ChrisDowa blackout shades, available in a selection of modern colors and boasting simple installation.

How We Chose the Best Blackout Shades

Blackout shades should offer privacy, insulation, style, and convenience, and that’s what we considered when selecting our recommendations. Our priorities for our top picks were fabric and backing materials as well as insulation properties. Then we looked at ease and type of installation, mounting options, color choices, and operation—because nobody wants a tangle of cords hanging out of the window. We also made sure to include several options for both roller, Roman, and cellular shades as well as our top pick for a motorized blackout shade in a tech-savvy home.

Finally, custom shades can be pricey, so we compared the pricing of different sizes and options to choose quality but budget-friendly products. Shades make up a large portion of the walls, and finding shades that look great and are easy to manage shouldn’t be impossible. This list of recommendations provides shoppers with a solution to meet any budget or style choice.

FAQs

Shoppers still unhappily in the dark about blackout shades should consider the answers to these commonly asked questions.

Q. What is the difference between room darkening and blackout shades?

Room darkening (also called “light filtering”) shades don’t block all light. Blackout shades offer maximum light blocking, especially in a dark color.

Q. Do blackout shades provide privacy at night?

Yes, blackout shades will prevent light from coming in and people from peering in.

Q. Can blackout shades be placed over blinds?

No, blackout shades should be used in the place of traditional blinds.

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